Snow Day – A Gift of Time

A snow day is a gift of time for play, independent work and keeping connected in the ways that make sense for the work you want to do.

When there’s a chance of a snow day everyone gets excited. And for all kinds of reasons.

My backyard is now a place of deep mystery

For many it is the potential  for some good play time – a chance to sleep in perhaps and then do some things  for which there is never enough time.

And a piece of that delight is that we will see things transformed.

Snow changes shapes and light and we see things anew. Our world is changed and we delight in that.

And of course the educator in me starts to muse on the importance of embracing change and the role of playing and the changing culture for learning. (I know, I  know – so stop reading and go play in the snow.) Then come back and watch this video.

I think we all do our best work when the boundaries between play and work are blurred. This is so easy to see in children when they develop a passion for something – raptors or reptiles, Harry Potter, baseball stats or the cheat sheets for a video game.

All of a sudden they are truly experts with a mastery of information and all without formal instruction. Often they  memories and “know” vast quantities of information without the effort of formal study. They do this by independently delving in but also by becoming a member of the tribe of aficionados who share the same interest or passion.

Adults do the same thing when they find a community of interest  – a support group say – when faced with a new challenge. This is the new ecology of learning –  connected, infinite, open, social and often playful.

Knowledge is not a fixture out there – but rather something to be made, played with, uncovered, discovered, integrated, learned,  remixed and made anew.

Play is not just the work of the child. Play is the way all of us adapt to the swirl of change and embrace that which would otherwise engulf and overwhelm us.

Douglas Thomas and John Seeley Brown have a book on this very topic and you can read the first three chapters for free:

A New Culture of Learning:
Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change

I love that sub-title.

Of course snow days are not always fun and games and the disruption can be difficult.

So if you’ve been shoveling or  shivering or suffering in any way – may you, too, find time to play soon.

How will you use your gift?


  1. I love this post, and keeping the lines blurred between work and play (whenever possible) is what makes life worth living, and what makes work meaningful to us. Ideally, if we are invested in what we are learning (because it is fun and we truly want to *know*), then the learning itself is play.

    Here’s to hoping all teachers–although I am not teaching now–can use this gift of a day to catch their breath and get some great ideas for engaging students more, even if simply through their own (the teachers’) enthusiasm, simply by being inspiring, open people.

    Best wishes,


  2. Thanks Elizabeth.
    I’m just reading the NYTimes story about play and work in kindergarten. Some very distressing details about the disconnect between the developmentally appropriate work of early childhood and the required homework, worksheets and “time on task”.

    Meanwhile, I hope your day if filled with the work and play you want to do!

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